i forgot to add that back when the folklife staff were giving the power to sell tapes and cds to tower records, they sent the police around to threaten the buskers with criminal charges if they didn't comply. threatening musicians is n othing new yto folklife staff. i think that performers might be given extra place for busking to keep down the numbers but that would get controversial as well.
back then i talked with one of the organizers--very high up-- and i told him people who travel hndreds of miles to perform have to be able to make a living if they are to participate. i pointed out how folk was becomming mostly middle class(maybe an old phenomena)because working musicians can't afford to take the weekend off but the folks with nine to five jobs have no such problem. he responded "i hope thats not happening"--he had absolutely no awareness of class and ethnic equality, just a corporate head ready to use the cops at a moments notice.
using the cops was foolish. the festival is so big there is no way the cops could actually enforse things and the buskers know that. all the attitude did was alienate many of the regulars who also busk. most of them stopped performing. now thay threaten to report people to the irs--like they have the resourses to hunt down buskers for the a few hundred bucks--and then ban certain busker for going public. that s really despicable.who at the top thinks these fascist tactics are acceptable.
i too recall some great musicians playing at folklife, john p being one, and stanley greenthall and gerry haggerty and many more who really gave the festival it character. most of whom busked at one time or another.
as for the canadian off spring vancouver city fest and the other that i've never been to, the vancouver city fest was run by middle class neopitists as well. they regularily sortd the good stages to pals of the organizers. i remember one of the great peruvian bands i used to know playing right on the street with the traffic noise overwhelming them, while a poet i know--possibley the worst poet i've ever seen--was reading on the main stage with a guitar accompaniest. of course the guitarist was tight with the organizers, and of course the ethnic and non middle class performers noticed this and stopped coming. to do what bartlett says requires abandoning the "entitlement attitude" that his crowd have--something they will never do.
so folklife staff and board how about stopping using the police to force musicians to sell through one outlet, how about paying for the tapes sold, how about stopping using threats against musicians, how abour youse guys at the top trying to rejoin the human race??